Tamara Gverdtsiteli is a real Georgian woman. The kind you admire when walking around Tbilisi. Sometimes a Georgian woman in a long black dress (without fail), with an airy scarf on her shoulders will pass by you in the Veri quarter and envelop you in a cloud of tart perfume and inexplicable charm. And she is so beautiful that you stand there, turning around, and you can't help it. No, not from this life. Not from this life.
Tamara Gverdtsiteli is like that. Only she wears dresses, already by European habit, more and more not black, and bright. But this, however, does not make any difference.
Tamara says that the farther she moves away from her homeland, the stronger she feels her roots and her Georgian blood. And she is indeed moving farther and farther away. The route of her life: Tbilisi - Moscow - Paris - New York - Boston - Moscow... At the same time Tamara is not yet forty, so - obviously - everything is still ahead of her.
It happened so that her name - even if it is very distant, by hearsay - is familiar to everyone (maybe to some people it is unfamiliar, but I have not met such people). It happened because Tamara herself did not do anything special for it, and probably never aspired to it. She just always sang.
She was born and grew up in sunny Soviet Georgia. Such Georgia can be seen today only in newsreels: winemakers, lovingly tying vines under the unbearable sun, flocks of sheep on the mountainsides, May Day demonstrations, all-union health resort on the Black Sea - now we will never know if everything was so happy in reality. Tamara Gverdtsiteli is also from these newsreels. She was ten years old when her mother brought her to the children's ensemble "Mziuri". Her voice was already special then - strong, beautiful, recognizable. "Captain, captain, pull up!" - sings the small, short-haired Tamunya, captured on the black-and-white film of the Soviet newsreel.
"Mziuri" traveled not only all over our big country, he traveled all over Europe. In Georgia the name of Tamriko Gverdtsiteli was known to everyone, she was recognized on the streets, and that's when her star status began, in which she lives all her life. We don't have exact data on how a child's psyche adapts to "stardom" (about adult psyche we can definitely say that in 90 cases out of 100 "star" disease starts), Tamara, apparently, got used to it and learned to live a normal human life. Which is probably not so easy when your surname - even if by hearsay - is known to everyone.
Then Tamara entered the conservatory. Piano and composition class.
Of those girls who sang with her in Mziuri, almost no one became a musician. It would be incorrect to say that Tamara was the most talented and therefore.... It is well known that talent is not only talent, it is talent and labor. And it's about Tamara to work, to bring her art to perfection. Another thing is that singing for her is like living. She always sings, not only on stage, in the studio or at rehearsals, but even when she is cutting a salad or just having a rest.
However, luck was also on her side. At the age of 19 Tamara won the first prize at the "Red Carnation" contest in Sochi. Then there were more competitions, more victories - festivals in Dresden, in San Remo, "Golden Orpheus" in Bulgaria - there were tours, there were recordings of the young, very young singer with a symphony orchestra. Records: beautiful love songs in Georgian and very few Soviet, patriotic songs that sound today not vulgar or funny, but in such a way that one can't help but feel nostalgic for that Soviet Georgia, where gardens bloomed in a special way and people spoke different languages in a special way. There were performances in front of soldiers in Afghanistan, when during the concert there was a bombing, and Tamara sang with candles lit in the hall.
There was also a wedding. Tamara was marrying the chief director of the Georgian television drama program studio. Margaret Thatcher was at their wedding - though not because Tamara was already so well known in England, but because it was during their registration that Thatcher was brought to show the best registry office in Tbilisi.
And then Sandro was born, the main man in Tamara's life, as she herself says.
Of course, Tamara is a real Georgian woman. But perhaps not a typical one. Because a simple Georgian woman is always by a man's side, she does not create her destiny by herself, and almost certainly lives in Georgia all her life. Once in one TV program Nani Bregvadze, the most recognized metress of Georgian pop, was asked about Tamara. "She gave up everything and left here, I wouldn't be able to do that... - and after thinking about it, she added, "But I understand her, she is obsessed with music. It may seem strange to us, but not everyone in Georgia understood her. Some people also thought that Tamara had abandoned her homeland - when her destiny, career, luck called her to other countries and capitals, to the most famous halls of the world. And when tanks marched on Tbilisi, on Rustaveli Avenue, and she took her mother and son and sent them away, away from the war - to New York.
1991. Tamara is a well-recognized, successful young singer, living, however, somewhat isolated from the world of show business. She is not an ethnic singer, not a "performer from a union republic", although she sings songs in Georgian, which is incomprehensible to the majority of the population of the Soviet Union, she is just a different breed, too aristocratic to be in the general stream. Too fine a taste to sing popular music. Only the song "Vivat, the King!" becomes a hit, which to this day immediately arises in people's memory as a reaction to the surname Gverdtsiteli.
So, it is 1991. Tamara's agent sends her cassette in Paris to the famous composer Michel Legrand. As it is customary to say, the composer's office receives dozens of such cassettes every day, and despite this, three days later Tamara gets a call saying that Mr. Legrand will be happy to see her in Paris. To this day, when Tamara talks about it, you can hear a genuine sense of wonder in her words. Strangely, while it doesn't seem strange to us that a talented singer was invited to work in Paris (if not her, then who else?!), it's as if Tamara doesn't fully believe in the reality of this time spent in France. Parisian streets, chestnut trees, Parisian accordions, the city of Edith Piaf, favorite since childhood, her repertoire, which, performed by Tamara, leads the Parisian public into ecstasy.... Every morning meetings in the studio with Legrand, the author of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg"... The culmination of Parisian life: a concert at the Olympia, the country's main hall. She and Legrand played on two pianos, four hands, improvised: "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" - jazz, blues, rap (the first and last time Tamara worked in this style), "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" - gypsy.... Then she sang, and the audience erupted in applause. Tamara laughs when she remembers how soaked from the heat of passion entertainer shouted into the hall: "Tamara ... Tamara ... - here he tried several times to pronounce her last name, but without success, then waved his hand, "Remember this name - Tamara!"
The Paris contract ended, she returned to Moscow, and soon left for America with her family. Again, she was not going to conquer the New World, but for some reason it was easier and more convenient for her to live there than anywhere else. She toured America and Canada, performing mainly for the Russian-speaking public, although when her concerts in prestigious halls were well advertised, the English-speaking public (in Canada - the French-speaking public) also came. They came and left in complete delight, because in terms of her repertoire Tamara is an absolute man of the world. She has a gigantic repertoire, where seven languages are intricately mixed (in parentheses we should note that Tamara herself speaks English, French, Italian and a little bit of Hebrew - not counting her native Georgian and Russian). She sings ancient folk songs (to Hava Nagila, the hall stands up), many composers write music specially for her voice, she performs opera arias, French chanson and songs of her own composition (her favorite - to poems by Tsvetaeva). She is invited to sing in musicals. But to sing jazz and blues she - she herself honestly confesses - shy.
So Tamara lived in America, and one day one man fell madly in love with her. He saw her somewhere on a visit, and he didn't even know she was a singer. He was a lawyer from Boston. He offered her everything he could offer and what is usually offered in such cases. And Tamara and her family ended up in Boston. However, it didn't change her life much: in all the cities where she lives, her life goes on in the same rhythm, and if someone asks Tamara "What do you do?", she answers "The same, of course. Music, what else?".
A little more time passed, and this summer Moscow newspapers and magazines in their secular chronicle sections wrote "Tamara Gverdtsiteli's family returns to Moscow". And the photo - smiling, foreign Tamara in black glasses, her mother Inna Vladimirovna and Sandro, who has grown to almost two meters. Tamara herself came here even earlier, and while waiting for her family she bought a new apartment - in the very center, on "Mayakovskaya", near the hotel "Pekin", in which room she lived for two years in her previous life in Moscow. And again - questions of "how", "why", "why"? Probably, why it really happened, only close people know, on all questions of journalists Tamara, as usual, guffaws. Says: "Fate!". In this she is, of course, an invariable Georgian, who will never open up to the public (even Oksana Pushkina failed).
Although, what are we talking about? Have we forgotten that Tamara is a man of the world, and she does not care what language her neighbors speak. She just doesn't have time to pay attention to it. "For the last 20 years I've done nothing but go on tour: from plane to plane, from train to train," says Tamara rather indifferently, and I recall with some shudder the schedule of her concerts of one month: Surgut - Baku - Baltic - Tbilisi - Moscow - Chicago. Such a life for 20 years is not only a thunder of applause (flowers, fur coats, diamonds, cars), but also undermined health. Once in Odessa before a concert she lost consciousness, and if the doctors had not been on the spot almost at the same second (amazed that a person could live without feeling even a shadow of anxiety from the terrible danger inside her), God knows what could have happened. Then she was seriously ill, but even if the doctors had prescribed a different way of life (who knows, maybe they did), she still wouldn't have been able to live any other way. And how could it be any other way?
An excuse to move. Wherever Tamara is, she calls home every day, to her mom and son: "My mom always brings me up, even to this day. I call her from the ends of the earth, and she continues her parenting over the phone." With fifteen-year-old Sandro, they are friends, the best of friends, so they too suffer a lot from long separations. Today, Tamara spends more time here, and it is no surprise that the family will be close by.
What Tamara will do in Moscow, we do not know yet. Record albums, shoot clips - it would be good to do it too. It's just surprising sometimes: Tamara seems to be in show business since her childhood, as they say, but at the same time she is absolutely not a person of show business. (Discography for 20 years - two albums!). Maybe it's because she has the wrong management, or maybe she just thinks that she has more important things to do - to sit at the piano, for example, and play music that hasn't been written yet.
And in general, she takes all these things simply and calmly. She said: "I have never fought for a place in show business. That place is there - regardless of whether I show up often or rarely. It's just that whoever loves it will miss it, and whoever doesn't love it will continue to dislike it."
That's right. Both love and miss.
According to family legend, the Gverdtsiteli family got its surname in the XIV century. A distant ancestor of Tamara Mikhailovna, who selflessly fought with the Turks for the independence of his native Georgia, in one of the battles was wounded. The tsar, seeing one of his subjects, who despite being wounded did not leave the battlefield and continued to fight desperately with the enemies, named the brave man Gvredtsiteli, which means "bloody side" (literally - "red side").
Tamara Gverdtsiteli, like many artists, has her own superstitions: the singer tries never to perform at a white piano, preferring it to a black one, she enters the stage only from the left backstage and takes her talismans with her everywhere - two dolls that she has loved since childhood.
When Tamara Gverdtsiteli got married for the first time, her wedding was honored by the presence of Margaret Thatcher, who was the Prime Minister of Great Britain at that time. The reason for this was not that the "Iron Lady" was an admirer of the singer's talent - on that very day Thatcher, who was on a visit to the USSR, was taken on a tour to the best registry office in Tbilisi.
Tamara Gverdtsiteli first learned about Michel Legrand 25 years before her personal acquaintance. Seven-year-old Tamriko was moved to tears by the movie "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" and the music written for it by the French composer.
Tamara Gverdtsiteli's discography
Debut. Tamara Gverdtsiteli (1982) (minion)
Music: Tamara Gverdtsiteli sings (1985)
Tamara Gverdtsiteli sings her songs (1992)
Vivat, King! (1994)
Thank you, Music, to you! (1996)
Best songs of different years (2000)
Dedication to Woman (2001)
Vivat, Love, Vivat! (2002)
I dreamt of the sky yesterday (2002)
Music is the temple of the soul (2004)
Air Kiss (2008)
Favorites (2008) (MP3-album)
The Best (2009) (2 CDs)
Filmography of Tamara Gverdtsiteli
The House of Model Maintenance (TV series) (2011)
Stalin's Wife (TV) (2006); role: Maria Svanidze
Griboyedov's Waltz (TV) (1995)
Mziuri (TV) (1973)
Awards and discography: http://www.vokrug.tv/person/show/Tamara_Gvredtsiteli/